Professional Sports and Steroids Use
Majority of the public knows and believes that steroids are a train wreck, a sports career demolition, so much to the point that the public is not easily swayed into believing otherwise.
Fiction and facts mix unto one giant myth about steroids. Science and superstition becomes indistinguishable. Steroids will befall upon anyone side-effects that are irreversible, steroids will not definitely help in sports career. They will reduce, if not render, anyone’s ability to produce offspring. Steroids can trigger depression, hostility, and may lead to death.
That the public knows steroids are “bad” and nasty is at best backed up fairly good reasons. This is fueled by media’s preferential, and even prejudicial, coverage on any detail of controversy zeroing on the heroes on the field. The dishonorable medal stripping of some America’s best athletes, Ben Johnson for one, followed the scrambling and finger-pointing inside International Olympic Committee and among sports delegation heads. The media covered the story completely and exhaustively, peering into the science behind steroids and drama unfolding as athletes fall from prestige and honor. The public thinks they are as intelligent as the doctors responsible for steroid research, and would vindictively damn all sportsmen who dope.
But what is really the truth about all these? Are steroids as bad as we think?
Steroids are artificial substances that have a unique ability to mimic the functions of the naturally occurring hormone in the body called testosterone. Testostereone is a male sexual hormone responsible for the many distinct physical and psychological male traits, such as sexual libido, growth, and body hairs. Steroids are developed in order to do the job of testosterone, which can be classified as either anabolic or androgenic. Anabolic functions include those that promote formation of muscles, vertical growth and regulation of weight gain or loss, and androgenic refers to masculine attributes such as agility, strength, and endurance.
Steroids are available, according to National Institute on Drug Abuse, for prescriptions especially on special cases of muscle or growth degeneration, blood diseases and breast cancer. Countries all over the world, chief of them the US, have set up stringent banning and permission for the use of steroids which are hoped to be used strictly for medical purposes.
But because steroids have these properties, it is no wonder that athletes were drawn first to them as a tool to gain unprecedented advantage on the playing field. By the help of these drugs, they can become bigger, stronger, more agile, and hence more competitive. The controversy began in effect with the start of taking steroids for non-medical uses.
Ethical issues arose immediately, particularly on what and how much advantage do steroids pose for athletes taking them. If they indeed give athletes an edge over others as reported, how bad and lopsided would the corresponding games be? Is the game fair or is it a farce considering that participants are standing on unequal footing? These are questions that concerned not only athletes and coaches themselves, but the integrity of sports and officiating associations as well. Integrity of the sports and officials is way too much trade-off.
The introduction of steroids to sports did not meet as much noise and criticism as now. In fact, the use of enhancement drugs was a novel way in reaping plum prizes in Olympics. The Soviets were first to be rumored doing so in 1954 Olypmics in bodybuilding and weightlifting events, Journal of Sports Law and Contemporary problems says. The Americans who got interested, delved into research and created their own version, the now popular methandrostenolone (Dianabol.)
Research, production, and distribution of such drugs went on unabated for the next couple of decades. The steroids provided confidence and extra edge on bodybuilders, athletes on football and weightlifting, and amateur sportsmen joining the Olympics. So much was as stake too, because more than just the prestige in the games, the athletes are endowed by government with financial rewards when they do well.
Steroids are now banned in most major professional and amateur tournaments including the National Basketball Association and Summer Olympics. Most people think that the ban was made because of reports of debilitating sickness like cancer and tumors, psychological and mental disturbance, and irreversible physical changes. All these claims are refuted by Norman Frost’s article for American Medical Association. Until today, there has yet no evidence to link any serious sickness to the use of steroids.
The ban was not because of side effects; rather it was directed in erasing the moral and ethical questions. Right now more people and experts believe that the fears were unfounded. Real Sports aired a segment discussing the issues about steroids. The result? An open-minded look into the reality of these drugs, whose side-effects can be readily mitigated by other medicine.
So steroids for professional sports? Definitely not an absolute no. Because what really counts on the competition is not quantity of steroids used, but practice, focus, and willpower to succeed.